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How to Clean Old Needlepoint
Needlepoint is like a painting done with yarn. The finished canvas embroidery can be displayed on walls like a painting, or it can be used as a decorative covering for other items, such as throw pillows.
It is sometimes necessary to clean needlepoint, especially if it has accumulated layers of dust or if it has stains. You can vacuum it, spot treat it or handwash it. Whichever method you choose to clean your old needlepoint, you must be very careful to avoid damaging the canvas work.
Things You'll Need:
* Needlepoint cleaner
* Mild detergent
* MDF, corkboard or hardboard
* Heavy paper
Use a vacuum. This is the best option if there is a layer of dust on the tapestry. Use the hose with an attachment to carefully suck up the dirt.
Test for colorfastness. If it is necessary to spot treat or hand wash the tapestry, it is best to test a small area for colorfastness first. Dip a white terry cloth in a mixture of mild detergent and water or a needlepoint cleaner. Dab a small spot firmly. Do not rub because this will shift the needlepoint yarn. If the cloth is free of dye from the yarn, then it is safe to proceed. If not, then consider sending the needlepoint to a professional.
Spot treat stains. Dip a cloth in a needlepoint cleaner or a mixture of detergent and water. Dab at the stain until it disappears. Dip another cloth in clean water and dab at the spot to remove the cleaner.
Hand wash the piece. This is only recommended if the tapestry is extremely soiled. Washing affects the sizing of the piece and there is a great possibility of the dyes running. Prior to washing, place the needlepoint on a large piece of paper and trace the outline. Then wash the needlepoint gently, rinse and then place it between two towels. Roll the towels up and press down so they absorb most of the moisture.
Block the needlepoint after washing. Place the paper on top of hardboard, MDF or corkboard. Place the needlepoint on top of the paper and stretch it to fit the outline. Use thumbtacks, spaced about one inch apart, to hold the tapestry down to the outline. Let the tapestry dry.
Contact a professional if the needlepoint is delicate or the stains are stubborn. If you take your needlepoint to a dry cleaner, make sure he uses clean cleaning fluids. "If the cleaning fluid is not clean, the colors in your needlepoint may dull," says Jo Ippolito Christensen in "The Needlepoint Book: A Complete Update of the Classic Guide."
* "The Needlepoint Book: A Complete Update of the Classic Guide;" Jo Ippolito Christensen; 1999